By Jo Linsdell
I've never been what you'd call a naturally organised person. I'm one of those chaotic people that always has loads of different things on the go all at once and so I always made the excuse that I didn't have time to be organised. Then things got too much. You can stay afloat for a while like that but sooner or later you start to sink. That's when I decided I needed a life jacket. It was time to get organised.
I've always been a list maker. It's been the only thing that kept me remotely on course for years. The first step to getting organised therefore was to write up some lists. I made a list of all the tasks I needed to do, the stuff I wanted to do, and the things I'd need in order to do them all. This one simple task made a huge difference and I was already saving myself time and getting more done.
Now it was time to get my files into order. I got myself some of those great folders with built in transparent pockets, some note books, and some new stationary supplies. I then separated all my paperwork so that each of my projects had it's own folder. I have a note book for note taking during webinars, teleseminars etc... and for writing down tips I come across on the web. I also write down any useful tools I come across in that one. I have another note book for new ideas and one for other miscellaneous stuff. Now when I know I need to work on a certain project or task I just pull out that folder and have everything there ready. One of the biggest advantages I've found from doing this is that I don't get sidetracked. It keeps me concentrated on the task in hand and therefore I manage to finish sooner and tick more tasks off my lists. It also means that when I need something I actually know where to find it. Doing a radio interview about one of my books? I just need to grab the folder for that book and I've got all my information to hand.
Next was to declutter. I never seemed to throw anything away and even had notes scribbled down of ripped off corner pieces of paper. Post-it notes were everywhere. Pens that had run out of ink were still there on my desk and, despite causing a mini nervous breakdown every time I needed one and picked them up only to discover that they were all out of ink, they still hadn't found their way to the bin. Trust me, that's not productive or good for your mental state. Anything important was therefore written into a notebook or filed. Old, broken objects were finally binned and new, functional objects took their place... this time in nicely organised containers.
Now I had a game plan, a functional and time saving filing system, and the supplies I needed to get the job done. I also had a clean, tidy, and organised work area. I was thrilled with the results and felt more motivated than ever to get some work done. I became more productive and was able to tick more tasks off my list. After a while I even managed to start ticking off long term goals that I never thought I'd have time to do. I started to expand my marketing efforts and soon saw a big difference in both sales and author recognition. I also felt more professional and that had an impact on my mind set. I was ready to take my career to the next level and raised my personal standards accordingly.
Seeing the changes that had taken place I was motivated to organise in other areas too. I made submission guidelines for my blogs, prepared a file for interview features, and created a solid content calendar for my blogs. Again the results were immediate. Blogging became super easy and less time consuming. I didn't need to search for last minute ideas or risk missing a post because I already had a calendar planned out. I started programming posts in advance and that saved me yet more time. Setting up guest posts, interviews, and features was a lot easier and everything was running more smoothly.
After the success of my new blogging practices I decided it was time to organise my social media content too. Up until then I'd just posted stuff as and when it came to me. I analysed my posts to see what content was getting the most response. I also looked at my most effective posting times. With this information I was able to put together a posting strategy and, yep you guessed it, there was an immediate increase in likes, shares, retweets, etc... I was getting more engagement on my posts too and so my general reach increased. I still drop by to post random stuff here and there, and always check for new comments and messages. I now don't have to constantly be on my social media accounts to be active on them though and the content I'm putting out is getting better results. This frees up more time to work on my books and other projects.
If I'd known the difference being organised would have made to my career I would have done it much sooner. The great thing is that once you start getting organised, it becomes easier to get more organised. I still have a lot of things on my to do list (I'm constantly adding to it which doesn't help) but I'm definitely more on target now.
How organised are you? What systems have you put into place that help your productivity?
Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger, and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event Promo Day (www.PromoDay.info). Her latest release Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is now available from Amazon. Find out more about her at her website www.JoLinsdell.com